4) Yet Khayyam's fondness for metaphor--compounded by Romanticism's heavy metaphorical investments, which the Spasmodist
craze of the 1850s had lately inflated to the bursting point--obliged FitzGerald despite his proclaimed hostility to metaphor to use the trope prominently.
as a spasmodist
epic, the poem is chock full of the "very grand
Spasmodist poetics wrote very large certain Romantic tenets that persist among us, involving the centrality of the self, the sanctity of the moment of heightened perception, and the totality of the truth to which creative poets enjoy privileged if fitful access.
The allegorical-mythic mode of narration that Home adopted in 1843 seems to have struck his 1850s spasmodist successors as a puny alternative to Bailey's with-it spirit of dramatic bigness, which in preference to his they followed.
While this circle is almost infinitely expandable by the enfranchised spasmodist imagination, there remains one limiting case that gives Balder no peace: the experience no autobiographer can narrate, the experience of death (16.
If spasmodist subjectivism meant anything to Dobell, it meant that every perspective was somebody's, and that a commanding view was more than metaphorically embroiled in political relations of power and subordination.
What seems to us merely out in left field looked to the Victorian conservative like a flank of the left wing: the premium that spasmodist poetry placed in theory on subjective power, and exemplified in the rolling fluency of its creative practice, bespoke cultural values whose linkage to Chartist and other demands for a voice, or to sexual and other kinds of emancipation, Aytoun never doubted for an instant.
This baneful formlessness, in Gosse's view, affected Tennyson and both Brownings, who, "surviving the wreck of the Spasmodists
, were still more bent on vigour than grace," and who subsequently "began to adopt blank verse as their favourite instrument" (p.
Her account is important because Byron was identified by contemporaries, along with Shelley and Keats, as one of the key forerunners of Spasmodic poetry: Massey, in his review of the 1850s Spasmodists, remarked that Byron was known for astonishing and impressing his readers by the effect of "spasmodic affection" (p.
3) Gerald Massey, "Poetry--The Spasmodists," North British Review 28 (1858): 237.
If, as Richard Cronin suggests, the poems of Smith and other Spasmodists
"attempt to force themselves on the public attention most obviously by challenging conventional orthodoxies; ethical, religious, sexual and political," Smith certainly succeeded with "The Lady and the Page.
3) Coventry Patmore, "Poetry--The Spasmodists
," North British Review 28 (1858): 126.